Svenning Messmer, managing director of Mobile Lighting Rig, explains how the firm’s lighting technology can help ensure an excellent playing surface all year round
The founder of Mobile Lighting Rig, Kolbjørn Sæther, recognised the challenge of grass growth in shaded stadium pitches in extended football seasons in a north European climate. Around 1998, it seemed that artificial grass would become the only alternative to real turf in modern football, so Sæther set out to find an alternative. Consequently he came up with the idea for mobile lighting rigs. Later he teamed up with two friends, started lighting trials and founded a company. At first, his idea was met with a lot of scepticism and was seen as impractical by many people in the industry who thought grass would not grow under artificial light and would not be strong enough to play football on. Questions were also raised about moving lighting rigs in and out of stadia, whether or not grass would grow in cold climates, and the costs of implementing such a system. However, once these sceptics had actually seen the system or read the initial results of tests, their reservations receded.
The lighting rig provides supplementary light to shaded areas of the pitch. In the winter months, it is the only source of light to the grass plants of the pitches for many stadia. A very high level of lighting is required in order to grow quality turf grass with strong roots. The lamps also radiate a lot of heat, which is necessary in the cold winter months.